The New York City Charter Revision Commission will hold
the second of five "Issue Forums" tomorrow in the Bronx, focusing on voter
participation. Addressing the Commission will be four experts on the
issue: J. Phillip Thompson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; David
R. Jones, President and CEO of the Community Service Society; Lorraine C.
Minnite, Barnard College; and Harry Kresky, a leading election attorney and
former Charter Revision Commissioner.
PLACE: Lehman College
250 Bedford Park
DATE: June 2,
2010 - 6 p.m.
At tomorrow's forum, the Commission will invite testimony
from the expert panel and will accept public comment on the issue. Those wishing
to testify can begin signing up one half-hour prior to the start of the
forum. Anyone wishing to testify will be given the opportunity to do so
regardless of when they arrive.
The forum is open to the public and will be streamed live
via webcast through the Commission's website at www.nyc.gov/charter
J. Phillip Thompson
Professor of Urban Politics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
An urban planner and political scientist, Phil Thompson is
currently an Associate Professor of Urban Politics at MIT. He received a
B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1977, a Master's degree in urban
planning from Hunter College in 1986, and a PhD. in Political Science from the
CUNY Graduate Center in 1990. Thompson worked as Deputy General Manager of
the New York Housing Authority and as Director of the Mayor's Office of Housing
Coordination. He is a frequent advisor to trade unions in their efforts to
work with immigrant and community groups across the United States.
Thompson's most recent academic work includes a 2004
review of public health interventions in poor black communities (written with
Arline Geronimus) published in the Du Bois Review entitled "To Denigrate,
Ignore, or Disrupt: The Health Impact of Policy-induced Breakdown of Urban
African American Communities of Support," an article entitled "Judging Mayors"
in the June 2005 issue of Perspectives on Politics, and a book called Double
Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities and the Struggle for Deep Democracy
published in 2006 by Oxford University Press. After Hurricane Katrina
struck New Orleans in 2005, Thompson worked with the AFL-CIO Investment Trust
Corporation and with local community groups to create affordable housing and
workforce development initiatives to help rebuild New Orleans. Currently,
he is working with community groups, labor unions, and local government
officials to encourage large-scale energy efficiency initiatives in urban areas
through a collaborative called Emerald Cities.
David R. Jones
President and CEO,
Community Service Society
Since 1986, David R. Jones has been President
and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Service Society of New York (CSS),
a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that promotes economic advancement
and full civic participation for low-income New Yorkers. An
outspoken advocate for low-income New Yorkers, Jones writes bi-weekly newspaper
columns in the New York Amsterdam News and El Diario/La Prensa that serve to
educate the public and government officials on issues of importance to minority
and poor communities.
Jones served on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's transition
committee, is Vice Chair of the Independent Budget Office's Advisory Committee
and serves on the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's Advisory
Council. He is a board member of the Scherman Foundation, the Nation
Institute, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, a leading
philanthropic watchdog organization.
From 1996 to 2000, Jones was Chairman of the Board of
Carver Federal Savings Bank, the largest African-American managed bank in the
nation. He was a long-serving Trustee of Wesleyan University, where he is
currently Trustee Emeritus. Jones served on the board of the City's Health
and Hospitals Corporation and was Vice Chairman of the Primary Care Development
Corporation, which finances health care programs and facilities in medically
underserved communities. From 1983 to 1986, he served as Executive
Director of the New York City Youth Bureau, and from 1979 to 1983, was Special
Advisor to Mayor Edward I. Koch handling race relations, urban development,
immigration reform, and education.
Jones interned for Senator Robert F. Kennedy while
receiving his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University. He received a
law degree from Yale in 1974, and clerked for Judge Constance Baker
Motley. Jones is a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.
Prior to his nonprofit and public service careers, he specialized in corporate
antitrust cases and contract litigation at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine &
Lorraine C. Minnite
Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
Lorraine C. Minnite has
taught American and urban politics at Barnard College since 2000. Prior to
that, she was the Associate Director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy
at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. Her research is
concerned with issues of inequality, social and racial justice, political
conflict, and institutional change. Minnite has consulted with various
labor, advocacy, and governmental organizations which have relied on her
expertise in voting, public policy, and demographic patterns in New York
Minnite has published on various aspects of political
participation, immigration, voting behavior, and urban politics. She is
finishing a book on the politics of electoral rules that is tentatively titled,
The Politics of Voter Fraud. With Frances Fox Piven and Margaret Groarke
she is co-author of Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of
American Voters, forthcoming from The New Press. Minnite holds a B.A. in
History from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from CUNY.
Law Office of Harry
Kresky, New York City
Harry Kresky is a 1971 graduate of Columbia Law
School where he served as an editor of the Columbia Law Review. He is
currently in private practice in New York City. He is one of the country's
leading election attorneys and has represented independent voters, candidates
and parties for the past 30 years as well as insurgents seeking ballot access in
major party primaries.
Kresky was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to serve
on the 2002 New York City Charter Commission. He serves as counsel to the
New York City organizations of the Independence Party. He has been
appointed to Chair the Election Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers
Association, and is currently the Chair of the Ballot Access Subcommittee of the
Election Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New
Kresky has written extensively on election reform issues.
An op-ed he authored in support of open primaries recently appeared in the
Sacramento Bee. He presently represents eleven non-aligned voters in
federal litigation defending Idaho's open primary system. He serves as
counsel to independentvoting.org. In 2007-2008 he teamed with attorneys
from the law firm of Holland and Knight to prevent the destruction of historic
St. Brigid's Church in lower Manhattan.